Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We Should Be Homesick (Week 12)

And here is this week's email (:

"I heard about the disasters that happened in Lousiana recently and the cleanup that is happening as I type. I encourage everyone to pray for those affected by this! I know I do. Something very profound that I learned this past Sunday was the phrase: "We should be homesick. We should be homesick to return to live with our Heavenly Father because we will do anything that we can to return home when we are homesick and that's the attitude that we should have in this life about going home to God." I love that so much that I wanted to share it with everyone! At the same time, the speaker said something about how if we really love someone we won't ask them to do something that we know they don't want to do. I think that's really important! We need to serve others and respect them at all times. Another thing about making mistakes. Sometimes it takes a pinch of hurt to make the right decision next time. That comes from a story about a girl who wanted these pretty red shoes, but they were a half size too small and she bought them anyways! Her mom knew better and bought the brown ones in the right size and then a few days later the girl happily accepted the brown shoes because the other ones were pinching her feet! Hence: "sometimes it takes a pinch of hurt to make the right decision" and it's totally okay if we make mistakes! That's why we are here right? To learn from our mistakes :)

A couple funny things from this week:
1) The Portuguese nose
We went to a food bank in Seattle this week. There were a lot of people who spoke Russian and a lot who spoke Chinese (can't help those ones, but luckily there was a volunteer who spoke Mandarin). One of the people who happened to actually speak English kept telling me (not asking) that I was from Portugal. He said that my nose is definitely from a Portuguese ancestor. Now, I'm pretty sure that my family isn't from Portugal, but he was sure. He wouldn't give up so I eventually just agreed with him.
2) Elder K
So we have a Ukrainian Elder in our Zone who is learning English. (He's very helpful because he speaks Russian) But, anyways, he doesn't know any of the idiomatic phrases in English yet because he is just trying to get conversational English down right now. I know how he feels. Anyways, we texted him to let him know that we were going to go to Sports Day with a different zone so that we wouldn't have to drive an hour up to Bothell. Then we said "sorry we are party poopers." He responded back really confused because he doesn't know what that means but he knows what party and poop mean. It was so funny and we will definitely make fun of him mercilessly for that.

Sometime awesome that happened yesterday was we saw this really tall man! So we were like let's go talk to him. He was super open and we even set up a return appointment for him! Turns out he is a retired NBA player! Cool right? He is 6'10"! such an awesome and nice guy.'

 I had an idea this week as I was eating my morning oatmeal. I decided to put peaches and cinnamon in it. LET ME TELL YOU it was the best decision I have made in a while. I highly suggest this. IT is so good and surprisingly the peaches here are really wonderful. I want someone to try making peach cinnamon rolls and lemme know how that goes please. I would make them, but no time. I think it would be so good like a peach cobbler but as a cinnamon roll.

It's really hard only going to the store on Mondays. We always forget everything. This week it was ziploc bags to take our lunches that we have to eat on the road in. So we started washing ziploc bags. It's pretty funny that we are that desperate, but it all works out! I think it's getting to us a little bit having to eat in the car so much because we kept "forgetting" to pack dinners this week and then ended up having to go to Cafe Rio and Chipotle. I think I ate burritos 4 times this week but it's fine we don't have a Mexican food problem at all.....

We went to a Ukranian man's house this week and when we got there he had totallyu fixed us a bunch of desserts and bought a ton of Russian candy for us to eat. And he expected us to eat it all! It was so funny that we just couldn't stop laughing long enough to teach him about God. We were there for so long because he kept getting distracted and going on tangents. And THEN he saw an ice cream truck and bought us ice cream. Super nice guy, but really wants to make us fat or something. Russian food is actually pretty amazing. They make really good bread and the candy is so good. The desserts are always a gamble because a lot of them aren't super sweet and so they taste a little bit weird. I'm willing to try it though!

We went to a Ukranian festival! Actually sooo Overwhelming because everyone there spoke Russian! We went with Sister Allred and Truax and then Elder Karpunkho and Piekarski. Elder Piekarski knows very very little Russian. So I think he would just say hello and then let his Ukrainian companion do the rest. The food there was SO amazing and it smelled so good! We were only able to try the crepes, but one day I'm gonna try all the Ukrainian food. Everyone was wearing these cool shirts that are apparently a Ukrainian thing. All of the women and girls were wearing beautiful floral dresses and a lot of embroidery. It was amazing. They also had these pretty flowers braided into their hair. It made me want to go there and it also made me realized just how many Russian speaking people there are here! I mean there were thousands of people there just wandering around in their Ukrainian gear speaking Russian to one another! Wow! What a cool experience. We met a bunch of awesome, faithful people that were all coming together to pray for Ukraine and the challenges that are happening with the people there at this moment. People either think I'm Ukrainian or tell me I don't look Ukrainian at all so I don't know what to think. I've never typed the word "Ukrainian" so many times in my life.

The weather here is amazing at the moment. It's perfect tights and cardigan weather. Fall comes early here, the trees are already turning colors. Everyday I notice more and more orange trees and I can't wait to send pictures when fall is in full swing! It will be beautiful. One of my favorite sights during the day is Mount Rainier. There are often clouds covering it when it's rainy, but on the sunny days it stands out against the sky. It doesn't even seem real it's so amazing. I'm a little worried that it's going to get colder than I thought it would. I'll survive though, at least I'm not in actual Russia, right? It could definitely be a lot worse. I could be in negative 50 degree weather this winter.

Anyways, I am grateful for everything and everyone! I miss and love all of you so much and can't wait to see what this week holds. I love hearing from everyone :)

Cectpa Jenne"

Goodness I'm so proud of this sister of mine. <3 

[Converts] (Week 11)

Oh my goodness!! Yesterday I realized that I had gotten so carried away that the blog was pushed to the backburner. SO SORRY!!! Here's the email from LAST week!!

"[WE HAVE RECENT CONVERTS! They are from Russia. From Siberia. They have a 5 year old daughter.]They moved here in June I think and the Peterson's met them and realized that they were Russian speaking. They started meeting with the missionaries. It all happened before I got here. The other Russian sisters, Sister Allred and Truax were the ones who taught them and so it wasn't technically our baptism, buuuut anyone who is Russian speaking gets all the love from us <3 They are absolutely incredible and their baptism was beautiful. The spirit was so strong and everyone was basically overcome with tears. So beautiful. It was one of the best experiences I have probably ever had.

This week we had Zone Conference which basically consists of all of the missionaries trying to get their cars as clean as possible, because the leaders check and then whoever has the cleaned car gets the "golden plates" on their license plate and gets to have an extra 100 miles for their monthly allowance of miles. I'm glad that we didn't get it because I would have felt really bad since we already have unlimited miles due to the fact that we are basically the special assignment Russian speaking traveling Sister missionaries. I don't know what else to call us. It's really cool that we have such a unique purpose here, but it's also really difficult to know what to do with such a large area to cover! The actually meeting part of Zone Conference was really cool. It was a bunch of missionaries and we did a ton of role-playing and evaluating and then we got to watch the "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed" video again. It's all so very helpful just in general for life skills and learning how to be a leader and serve and teach people.

I can't believe that I am hearing about how HA is starting school! Wow, everyone is growing up. Summer is already gone! It's such a weird feeling because I was basically in school all summer in class learning Russian and now that I'm done with that, everyone else is starting school. I think BYU starts in like a week or something as well and that's super weird to hear that some of my friends are going back there without me!

Our miracle from last week, [one of our converts], informed us that she would be in Kentucky until December! So sad to hear, but I'll definitely be visiting her in December if I am still covering the South. The beginning of the week was hard this week because it felt like all of our careful plans were falling through and all anyone wanted to do was argue with us! However, on Friday we had a really good day! It was so cool because all of the sudden, everyone wanted to listen and everyone was interested and so nice and were so amazed that we were learning Russian i the states and it was a cool experience. We found 3 new people to teach and they are all pretty interested in learning more about the church. Another cool thing that happened on Friday was that there was a Russian man that we started to talk to and a Muslim man walked up and was joining the conversation. We had to translate for them because he didn't know Russian, only English. It was really cool because otherwise these two guys wouldn't have been able to talk to each other and share their beliefs with one another. We found a really flaky guy who keeps saying he will come to church and other activities, but then never shows up. Not really sure what to do about that problem. He's really nice but he just never comes.

Apparently, fall in Washington is really beautiful. The trees are already starting to change and I can tell that it's going to be absolutely beautiful and I can't wait!!!!! The other day we lost the phone in a Mexican restaurant (it was a realllllly good restaurant), and that was an adventure trying to find it. Pretty sure no one would steal it though, because it's definitely not an iphone or anything. Ohh and I got to see the Seattle temple for the first time in person and it is absolutely beautiful.

We had a little Russian picnic on Saturday and it was really fun to get together with everyone in the area who speaks Russian. We did these cool balloon things and as I let go of mine, it came around and tried to attack me. It was still really fun though. I've decided that Russian children are the cutest type of children! They are so sweet and they will talk to you like crazy. They LOVE it when we sing hymns to them in Russian.

Another great, spirit-filled week! I wish I had more time to write everything that happened and to email everyone individually, but there is important work to be done.

Lots of LOVE!
Sister Jenne"


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Miracles Are Everywhere (Week 10)

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet and her P Day is tomorrow!! So sorry!! Here's the email:

"Wow it's been an awesome week! We seriously see miracles everyday. If you open your eyes to God's hand in your life, you are bound to recognize all of the miracles and blessings that he gives you :)
They sure know how to give missionaries really long meetings to sit through. I think it's because they just want to teach us how to be more patient. Sitting in the car for hours and sitting in meetings have really changed how patient I am, I think. I have really enjoyed all of the meetings that we had this week. New Missionary Training was awesome and it's great to understand the mission culture better. I like seeing that there are so many awesome missionaries here in this mission when we all meet together. It's really inspiring. We also had Stake Conference and it was SUPER great. It was a little stressful translating all that stuff because my vocabulary is pretty limited, but I just wanted to focus on talking about stuff that I thought would help those who I was translating for. Basically it was a lot of testifying.Mostly, we just translate for Brother and Sister Slava.  And no, they aren't married. Slava is both of their first names. We just call them by their first names because their Russian last names are way to hard to pronounce haha.

I am amazed at how helpful the ward is with all of the carpooling and work that we have to do with the Russian members! On September 4th, there is a mission-wide fast for missionary work, but particularily for the Russian work, which is so awesome. We're so excited to see what comes out of that. There is apparently already so much happening in this last month as compared to previous months. A young couple who have a 5 year old daughter and are from Russia are being baptized on Saturday and they are sososo awesome! We also have a Russian picnic this week. Also there is a Ukrainian festival that we are going to go to and hand out flyers for English class at. It's going to be a blast and I am way super excited wow!

My Russian is honestly improving every day. Mostly it's pronunciation that I need the most help with. It's hard not to be immersed, but I get to listen to a lot of different accents from all around Eastern Europe and I was even able to get the jist of a crying lady who was speaking Russian (you know how hard it is to understand people when they are crying, right?!) She was a really cool lady. It was an awesome experience that we had.  I wasn't sure exactly where Sister Orr was going, but she taught me an important lesson! I am the type of person that would want to stick exactly to the plans that we made the night before, but she wisely showed me about following promptings. We were just driving and she was like "I feel like we should knock around here." So we did, and we ended up at about the 4th house I think finding a lady that was distraught on her porch! And guess what? She was a Russian speaker and a muslim. She didn't speak any English from what I could tell. I know that God sent us there to her. She kept saying how no one had been there for a few days and she didn't know what to do. We were really able to help her. We were reading from the BOM and she just kept telling us to please keep reading. It was really awesome. She's had a rough past and I think that her afflictions really have humbled her and prepared her to hear the gospel! We are super excited to go back and teach her more tomorrow. I'll update on how that goes next week.

We had exchanges with some English sisters and that was like a fun sleepover, but at the same time it was kind of like Girls Camp. Not exactly sure how to describe the experience. I was paired up with Sister Bowen and she was seriously fearless! We talked and sang to everyone that we saw. I'll end up being a good singer after this mission and I am going to have so many hymns memorized in Russian and English. It's gonna be sweet. But anyways, we met a guy that lived in Nazi Germany and he was telling us a lot of stories about how it was there. That was really interesting and sad. We did service at a thrift shop and the whole time we were looking for someone Russian for me to talk to! Turns out there actually was a lady that worked there and someone told her I "know" Russian and so she came to talk to me. lemme just say that it was kind of a disaster and I think she got a little mad that I didn't know how to say more. It was a little bit funny and also scary because I didn't have anyone there to help me. It was just me. Thank goodness for Sister Orr!!! But, I did help the Elder from Ukraine do a Russian baptismal interview with me and I understood pretty much every word that he said! It was so awesome. I know he was talking slowly for me, but still cool.

We also got to have a sleepover with the Russian North sisters. I tried some Russian food called Buckwheat. Well, it's called something else in Russian but I don't remember it and you wouldn't be able to read it. So it's buckwheat. It was really interesting.

I can't think of that much else that happened. Besides the fact that the people at Cafe Rio absolutely could not understand Sister Orr when she was trying to tell them her name and so we ended up picking up an order under the name of "Sam Ori" instead of "Hope Orr." It was so funny. I was trying to pray afterwards and I could not keep a straight face.

John 6:48-51

Remember that the 7th day is for 2nd chances :):)

Love you all!
Sister Jenne"

No pictures this week for some reason. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It Really Is Rainy Here (Week 9)

Savannah's new P Day is Monday!! SO I'm actually not super late with getting this up! For once!!

"Soooo I'm here :) The first day that I got here, we very fittingly landed in the Seattle airport with a light drizzle going on and there are pretty much constant puddles from what I have seen. There is sometimes a light drizzle or mist going on, but usually it's just overcast. I know this because we spend hours every day in the car and only occasionally do we have to turn on the windshield wipers. The freeways are really busy and there is a lot of traffic and so we have to spend a lot time planning lessons and role-playing in the car, which is interesting to get used to.

Our area covers the bottom half of the Seattle mission and the Federal Way mission and we go to church in Bothell because the Russian group goes to church there. It's about an hour drive to church and all of the other meetings that we have to have in Bothell. Time Management has been the hardest thing to adjust to! I mean we have several hours of study in the morning and then usually some type of coordination or zone meeting that we have to go to and so then we only have 4 or 5 hours to actually be out contacting people and so it's hard to plan. I guess that's why planning takes a long time every night. We whitewashed into the area and so there were no current investigators or anything. All of the Russian people who are investigators are in the Russian North area that covers the Everett mission; however, we have been able to find some people who are interested! Sometimes it's frustrating because we will find this awesome person, but we have to refer them because they are English speaking! There are seriously a ton of Russian speaking people though. There are entire complexes and apartment buildings that are filled with Russian people either from Armenia, Ukraine, or Russia. Ukraine seems to be the most common, probably because it is the easiest place for people to leave, but I don't know. Also, people keep asking us if we are Ukrainian or not. They don't seem to believe that there are American girls that know Russian haha!

I forgot my journal, and so it is actually hard for me to remember everything that happened this week! Basically, the day of travel to get here was the longest day I have ever experienced.  getting to talk to some people on the phone was so awesome though! I was temp companions with hermana Lee, and then when I got there I found out that my companion is Sister Orr! She is awesome and she has been out for about a year. She is from Utah and her Russian is amazing! Before she was with me, she was actually serving in an English area and I learned that it is inevitable that I will eventually be doing English for a couple transfers which should be fun! I just hope that I don't forget Russian. Speaking of, the people here are so hard to understand! They talk so quickly and under their breathe and mumble random stories that Sister Orr says have nothing to do with what we are talking about. Because they're from all around, it's hard trying to understand a bunch of different accents! There is a Sister and an Elder here that are from Ukraine and I feel like I'll probably adopt their accents and sound like I am from Ukraine (hopefully, I won't always sound like an American).

Everyone here is so nice! We don't get to really eat with members because of the far drive to our ward and so some random ward had a ton of food left over from Trek and gave us a TON of food. It was a blessing. We got to give some to Sister Slava because she just got evicted from her home and doesn't have very much food. She is one of the Russian members of our ward that lives close to us. her faith is so strong! There are only a few Russian members...Brother Slava, Sister Slava, and an Armenian couple. There is a family that will be baptized in a few weeks. Missionary-wise, there are 4 of us at the moment. There is also an Elder that speaks Russian, but he is English speaking. His English is so good! There is also a Senior couple that served in Russia and now is helping out with the Russian work here. I rjust realized that I am telling you a bunch of useless information. Now I will tell you the miracle that happened!

So we had a cool experience where we were trying to contact a referral, but they weren't home and so we were leaving and I felt like we should pray to bless the family and the home. After we prayed, we walked away and ran right into this really nice man named John. He wasn't Russia speaking, but he was totally interested in what we had to say and wanted English misisonaries to come and visit him! I know that if I hadn't followed the feeling that I had to pray on that doorstep, we would have already been in the car driving aqway and never would have met John! It's absolutely insane how much Heavenly Father cares about the little instances and interactions that we have in our everyday lives.

President Schofield and his wife are totallty awesome. They are so supportive and always send nice texts telling us to work hard and have a great day. It's hard to walk up to random epople and it's hard to face the rejection that comes most of the time, but that just makes the times that people actually want to talk to us so much sweeter! Sister Orr is doing a fantastic job of showing me the ropes and telling me about all of the sketchy places that we don't go so that we wont't get kidnapped. Today we are going to Pikes Place/ the actual city of Seattle and I am really excited! Normallly missionaries can't do that, but since we are Russian and our area is so huge we can almost go anywhere that we want to go and it is awesome.

Love you all so much and love getting updates.

2 Ne. 4:14-35
Sister Jenne"

Unfortunately, there were no pictures this week, but I'll be sure to remind her for next week. :) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Final Week (Week 8)

Oh my goodness, y'all! I'm so sorry I didn't get this up sooner! For some reason I thought I had already put it up and all of the sudden, it was Tuesday and I realized it wasn't up yet!! Here's the email:

"I'm not even sure exactly what happened this week to be honest. This might be a short email because it's been the shortest week ever and time is beginning to fly so quickly!

We ate a ton of junk this week because we realized that all of the food that everyone has been sending us needs to be gone before Monday, or else we will just leave it here for the rest of the people in our zone to eat. Plus, the fact that we are leaving causes a teensy bit of stress and so I think that warrants the excuse of stress eating a little bit. We aren't sleeping super well and it's probably because we eat candy right before bed, but hey we've tried not doing it and we wake up SO hungry. I still haven't adjusted to the crazy eating schedule here. I think at the MTC, there is a never-ending cycle of the food that people get and the food that people left behind and no one will ever go hungry here. We still have some of the food from when everyone in our old zone left to go to the Spain MTC.

The Russian has improved a lot this week! I am feeling pretty good about it, but I mean I'm not that nervous because I know I can still speak English a lot of the time, but my companions will be in the poorest area of Russia where no one speaks any English and most of the words we know are gospel related which is a problem because with the new law, they aren't even allowed to talk about the gospel outside of the church building. It will be interesting to see how that goes. I am worried for them, but I know that being immersed will be a blessing because they will pick up on Russian so quickly and they have their companions to help them! The other day we figured out the funniest thing about my name in Russian. So the Russian word for wife is pronounced like "jena" and the plural form is pronounced kinda like "jenny" sooooo my Russian tag basically means "Sister Wives." I mean, not exactly, but we still think that's pretty hilarious. If it was spelled slightly different on the tag, that's what it would mean. I hope no one gets confused by it hahah. Maybe I'll have to order a tag after my mission that is spelled that way because that would be fantastic.  Since we finished our grammar book, we have been doing some much needed review. It's very hard to have things stick in our brains when we are learning multiple principles a day. I can now conjugate verbs and use cases a little more effectively, but I know that my grammar needs a LOT of help. We also learned that the way Russian's say guinea pig is "under-experienced rabbit" other languages are so cool!

Sunday was a super nice and peaceful day because we don't have to worry about class or lessons or anything! It's pretty awesome. We had a great sacrament meeting and relief society meeting about faith. I also got to meet some sisters that are going to Seattle English speaking and will be on the same flight as me! I'm so excited because they seem super awesome and fun! It's so weird knowing that pretty soon I'll be there ahhhh. Sister Blonquist and Elder Carr did a wonderful musical number in sacrament. She sang Savoir Redeemer of My Soul while he played the piano...I think that's what it's called. It was beautiful. Sunday was pioneer day also. (which is kinda weird and kinda only a thing in Utah I feel like). BUt, there was a big celebration and we had a concert on Sunday. It was a concert with the Nashville Tribute Band (look them up they're cool), and it was supposedly a "devotional" but I beg to differ. We got to be in the choir and so it was kinda like we were their backup singers which was really awesome. It's been so long since I heard real music like that and so it was a real treat to hear. It was still the weirdest thing ever though because it didn't seem like something for a Sunday night. Then we watched Meet the Mormons. So it was like we had a concert and a movie in the MTC as missionaries. It was a strange experience.

We had skype TRC for the last time on Monday and we skyped an awesome lady who has moved from Russia to Utah. She loved to talk and was telling us a bunch of stories about her family.

In honor of our last Wednesday, we wore our "dork dots" from the first day at the MTC. It was so fun because everyone was telling us welcome and they were so genuine until we told them that we've actually been there longer than almost everyone in the MTC.

It was a fun week and we have started packing. The rest of P-day will probably be spent packing and deciding what to mail home!

I love and miss everyone!

Sister Jenne"

And now she's off to the Seattle mission!! 
(PS Something tells me that week 78 will be called "The Final Week" too.)